This time, the stakes are higher for Sergi Bruguera and his buddy Alberto Berasategui.
Instead of a friendly match in Barcelona or a third-round match in Monte Carlo, the two Spaniards will meet with the French Open title on the line in Sunday's men's final.It will be the first Grand Slam final ever between two Spanish men. "This is history for Spain," Bruguera said. "This is what everybody in Spain wants."
Bruguera will try to defend his title, which he won against Jim Courier last year. Bruguera, seeded sixth, beat Courier again in Friday's semifinal. Another Bruguera victory would make him the ninth man to win consecutive French championships, including Courier in 1991-92.
Berasategui, ranked 23rd in the world, seeks to become the first unseeded champion since Mats Wilander in 1982. Wilander won as a 17-year-old, the first of his three French Open victories.
Courier has a unique perspective on the match - before losing to Bruguera, he was beaten in straight sets by Berasategui at Nice in April.
"I like Berasategui a lot," Courier said. "He's got enough game to beat anyone on this surface. He is going to have to play very well to play Sergi, going to have to run a lot.
"But geez, I played him in Nice. He played a game I wasn't really familiar with. I wasn't sure what was going on in the court."
Apparently neither did Magnus Larsson. Berasategui routed the Swede in 72 minutes in Friday's semifinal.
Bruguera owns a 2-1 edge in lifetime meetings over his Spanish buddy. The last time, in Monte Carlo, Bruguera took the last two sets 6-0, 6-0 after Berasategui wore himself out by winning a first set that lasted 70 minutes.
Berasategui knows it will be different this time.
"I never played him in a five-set match but I got to the final very fresh," Berasategui said.
Berasategui has not lost a set through six matches. Twice, his opponent withdrew due to injuries before the finish.
"I hope I can keep physically with him, and if I do, I think it is going to be a really, really close match," he said.
The first unseeded finalist here since 1986, Berasategui said he'll have no trouble battling a friend in the final.
"On the court he is like an enemy, off the court a friend," he said.
Bruguera also is happy to meet Berasategui for the title.
"I know him very well because we are always together in Davis Cup," Bruguera said. "We go together to dinner and we have a great time, and we go out at night together also, to the discotheque or pub."
Bruguera has not won a title this year. His last tournament victory was in Bordeaux in September, his first win on a hard court after 10 titles on clay.
Berasategui has won two titles and made five other clay court finals. For the year, Bruguera is 35-10 while Berasategui is 25-13.